British artist Shezad Dawood wants the world to know about the pre-1980s Pakistan which was liberal, vibrant and tolerant than the current Pakistan. It is my country and I am always excited to be here, he says.The multi talented artist who works across film, painting and sculpture to deconstruct system of image, language, site and narrative talked to Daily Times exclusively on Saturday on the sidelines of Lahore Biennale Festival. Shezad uses the editing process as a method to explore meanings and forms between film and painting, and his practice often involves collaboration, working with groups and individual across different disciplines. Shezad is currently in Pakistan and will be a keynote speaker at different sessions of the Lahore Biennale Festival 2018 where his paintings depicting the three decades of history of US-Pak relations from 1960s, 1970s and 1980s will be displayed.Talking about his paintings, he explained the a painting which depicted 1960s era that very few people knew that US was building its Embassy in Karachi in 1960s which was later shifted to Islamabad due to shifting of Pakistan’s capital from Karachi to Islamabad. The building later was turned into US Consulate Karachi and the interesting fact it didn’t meet security standards by at that time and it was later attacked by Taliban. When asked about his views on Pakistan, Shezad said the country is gradually making progress in terms of recognising its culture, adding that he is happy to see a lot of cultural activities happening in the provincial capital, Lahore.The artist said he was excited to have his work displayed in Pakistan because the hometown holds a special place in one’s heart. My work is result of my research conducted over the past few years about status of Pak-US relations, especially during the era of Cold War, he said. He further stated that the 1970s Pakistan was different as it was more pluralist and inclusive. There were music bands featuring Muslims and Christians and other religions and in 1980s Karachi used to be the hub of cultural activities in the country, he said.Talking about Lahore Biennale, he said he has always been a passionate supporter of such initiatives. The festival features artists from around the world and the team has done a great job, he said, adding that such activities help project a soft image of Pakistan. “When foreigners visit Pakistan, they would see how the country and its people are different from what they are shown on international media.” In response to a question about his future plans, he said that he is enjoying his life as an artist and obviously wanted to pursue this. “It runs you, you don’t run it.”Published in Daily Times, March 19th 2018.